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JAPAN's PM ABE TO MAKE HISTORIC VISIT TO PH AND PRESIDENT DUTERTE's DAVAO HOUSE
[RELATED: ‘Durian diplomacy,’ Pinoy breakfast, and Duterte’s ‘kulambo’]
[RELATED(2):  Both Duterte, Abe want rule of law in seas]


JANUARY 11 -PRIME MINISTER  Abe Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to visit the Philippines this week and make a stopover to President Duterte’s house in Davao City. Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said they expect the country’s relations with Japan would further be enhanced with the Prime Minister’s historic visit to the country. Andanar revealed that it was the Japanese Premier who requested to visit the President’s home in Davao City, owing to their friendly relations. “The Prime Minister said he wants to visit Davao City, visit President Duterte’s home in Davao City. We expect, not only the strengthening of ties but also a very, very warm visit,” Andanar said during an interview with TV5. READ MORE...RELATED, ‘Durian diplomacy,’ Pinoy breakfast, and Duterte’s ‘kulambo’...RELATED(2) Duterte, Abe want rule of law in seas...

ALSO: Japan PM Shinzo Abe ‘honored ’to be 1st foreign leader to visit PH under Duterte
[RELATED: PH, Japan seal special friendship PM Abe ‘closer to a brother’ – Duterte]


JANUARY 12 -Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows his head before the Philippine flag during a welcome ceremony at the presidential palace in Manila. REUTERS FILE
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is apparently pleased to be the first foreign leader to visit the Philippines during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. In his opening statement during their summit meeting in Malacañang, Abe told Duterte that he also chose Philippines to be his first foreign visit in 2017 to show his commitment to improve the relations between the two nations. "This is a tremendous honor for me to be invited as the very first foreign leader under your administration visiting Manila," Abe said. "I chose the Philippines as my first destination this year and that is a testament to my primary emphasis on our bilateral relationship with the Philippines," he added. READ MORE...RELATED, PH, Japan seal special friendship PM Abe ‘closer to a brother’ – Duterte...

ALSO: Breakfast at the Duterte’s down-to-earth Davao home
[RELATED: Japan's Abe enjoys Duterte's folksy diplomacy in Philippines]


JANUARY 13 -BREAKFAST AT DUTERTE'S HOME IN DAVAO: ABE SAMPLES PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT'S SIMPLE STYL  DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe feasted on mung bean soup and kakanin (rice cakes) at the home of President Duterte yesterday, getting a first-hand look at the down-to-earth living of a volatile new friend who is shaking up the status quo in Asia. With a backdrop of family photos, cups hanging from kitchen cabinets and clusters of used beer and wine bottles, Abe ate Duterte’s favorite breakfast in this city and was given a tour of his creaky two-story house, including the bedroom that featured the white mosquito net the President sleeps under on most weekends. Nothing was renovated or newly constructed at Duterte’s house even when the Prime Minister’s visit was anticipated. READ MORE...RELATED, Japan's Abe enjoys Duterte's folksy diplomacy in Philippines...

ALSO: DOT Zamboanga: Murders of fishermen an isolated incident[RELATED: PCG seeks new boats vs pirates]


JANUARY 12 -Siromon Island is one of the 11 Islands, a potential tourist destination in Zamboanga/ ROEL PAREÑO
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The Department of Tourism regional office in Zamboanga expects fewer visitors after the massacre of fishermen near 11 Islands, a potential tourist attraction near the city. Tourism regional director Antonio Fernando Blanco said they are addressing the possible effects that the execution of eight fishermen last Monday night off Siromon Island may have on arrivals. Siromon is among the 11 Islands. “Definitely, it will have a negative effect on the islands,” Blanco told media here. But Blanco said the bloody incident was an isolated case and and some of the suspects have already been arrested. Security in the area has also been beefed up for the visitors' safety. He said the incident has already dampened tourism, but that as long as the tourists who do go to the islands are safe, it will be open to the public. READ MORE...RELATED, PCG seeks new boats vs pirates...

ALSO: Duterte orders troops to blast militants and their hostages[RELATED: Terror group rises from jihadist ashes]
[RELATED(2):
Another foreign jihadist killed]


JANUARY 16 -President Rodrigo Duterte, right, and Philippine Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Ano, left, switch positions as they review the troops during flag-raising ceremony to commemorate the 120th death anniversary of the country's National Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. Détente remains popular as shown by recent surveys despite international concerns about his war on drugs that has so far killed more than 6,000 drug suspects since he took office June 30. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
President Rodrigo Duterte said he has ordered his troops to bomb extremists who flee with their captives in a bid to stop a wave of kidnappings at sea, calling the loss of civilian lives in such an attack "collateral damage." Duterte has previously stated that he had told his Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts their forces can blast away as they pursue militants who abduct sailors in waters where the three countries converge and bring their kidnap victims to Mindanao. He said in a speech late Saturday that he had given the same orders to Filipino forces. He said he instructed the Navy and the Coast guard that "if there are kidnappers and they're trying to escape, bomb them all." READ MORE...RELATED, Terror group rises from jihadist ashes...REATED(2), Another foreign jihadist killed...

ALSO: Abus free Korean, Filipino hostages
[RELATED: Duterte eyes joint operations with Malaysia vs Abu Sayyaf]


JANUARY 15 -South Korean hostage Park Chul-hong (center) is greeted by officials as he prepares to board a plane for Davao City following his release yesterday from his kidnappers in Jolo. AP 
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – A South Korean ship captain and a Filipino crewman kidnapped by suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen three months ago were released yesterday. Officials said the Abu Sayyaf handed skipper Park Chul-hong and Glenn Alindajao over to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels based in Barangay Kagay, who turned them over to Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan II. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza picked up the two former hostages from Tan and presented them to media in Davao City. Park, skipper of bulk carrier M/V Dong Bang Giant 2, and Alindajao were seized by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits off Sibutu Island in Tawi-Tawi last Oct. 20. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte eyes joint operations with Malaysia vs Abu Sayyaf...


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PM Abe to make historic visit to PH and President’s Davao house


PRIME MINISTER  Abe

MANILA, JANUARY 16, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN)  29 SHARES Share it! Published January 11, 2017  by Genalyn D. Kabiling - Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to visit the Philippines this week and make a stopover to President Duterte’s house in Davao City.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said they expect the country’s relations with Japan would further be enhanced with the Prime Minister’s historic visit to the country.

Andanar revealed that it was the Japanese Premier who requested to visit the President’s home in Davao City, owing to their friendly relations.

“The Prime Minister said he wants to visit Davao City, visit President Duterte’s home in Davao City. We expect, not only the strengthening of ties but also a very, very warm visit,” Andanar said during an interview with TV5.

READ MORE...

“Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the first Prime Minister and head of state visiting (the country) this year and the first head of state to visit Davao City,” he added.

INSTANT FRIENDS

Andanar recalled that Duterte and Abe became instant friends during their first few encounters last year.

“When the President and the Prime Minister met in Japan, they hit it off really well. We stayed long in the banquets while the President and the Prime Minister talked and even posed for photographs,” he said.

The two leaders met for the first time at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Laos last September. At the time, Abe told Duterte that he was excited to meet him, admitting that he is very popular in Japan.

JAPAN VISIT

Duterte traveled to Japan last October upon the invitation of Abe and forged five economic and defense accords including Tokyo’s commitment to provide additional military aircraft and sea vessels to Manila.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella, meantime, said the Prime Minister will arrive in Manila on Thursday and will then travel to Davao on Friday.

He said Duterte and Abe are expected to hold bilateral talks on matters involving counterterrorism, trade and economic cooperation, and other regional issues.

“Apparently, they have struck a certain resonant chord between the two of them. Apparently, Prime Minister Abe wants to visit the President’s house. So, it’s interesting,” he said in a Palace press conference. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

‘Durian diplomacy,’ Pinoy breakfast, and Duterte’s ‘kulambo’ 10 SHARES Share it! Published January 14, 2017, 12:10 AM by Genalyn D. Kabiling and Antonio L. Colina IV, and Yas D. Ocampo


BREAKFAST WITH ABE

With a visit to President Duterte’s bedroom, having one of the world’s rarest birds named in his honor and guided by a sockless host, Prime Minister Abe had a morning to remember yesterday.

Duterte, a charismatic politician known at home for his folksy charm, dropped many of the formal protocols normally associated with visits by a head of government as he took Abe on a tour of his beloved southern home city of Davao.

Followed by media, it did seem that Duterte and Abe were fast becoming the best of friends.

The visiting Prime Minister got a taste of “durian” diplomacy and warm southern hospitality courtesy of the President.

Duterte pulled out all the stops to welcome Abe in a friendly and casual setting, from hosting a power breakfast at his residence to a durian feast in his beloved home city.


THE PRESIDENT'S BEDROOM ...RODY SHOWED ABE HIS 'KULAMABO' (MOSQUITO NET)

Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Ana Banaag explained that the President wanted Abe to “feel at home” during his visit Davao City.

Banaag said the President made sure the Davao reception for the Prime Minister would be “more relaxed more friendly” a day after their formal meetings in Malacañang.

BREAKFAST, EAGLE, MOSQUITO NET

First on Abe’s itinerary in Davao City was a private visit to the President’s modest residence with his lovely wife Akie.

Duterte and Abe bonded over Filipino breakfast of assorted rice cakes – suman, biko, kutchinta, puto and monggo soup — and exchanged gifts during the house visit. Abe also saw Duterte’s simple lifestyle after being shown his old bedroom and the iconic mosquito net (kulambo) that the President cannot sleep without.

Abe, normally blue-suited and politically conservative who nevertheless showed off his fun side last year when he dressed up as video game icon Super Mario at the Rio Olympics’ closing ceremony, appeared to enjoy the day.

“This is what the President wanted ‘yung friendly lang, ‘yung hindi masyado ang ano — ‘yung pormal at hindi masyado ‘yung mga protocols so that they would also feel we are more than friends, we are brothers (That’s what the President wanted — friendly, not too formal, not too many protocols so that they would also feel we are more than friends, we are brothers),” Banaag said in a press conference in Davao.

“He wants them to feel at home na ito lang po kasi — ganito lang po ka-simple ang ating Presidente lalung-lalo na kapag nandito sa Davao; naka-polo lang (this is how simple our President is especially when in Davao; dressed in a polo),” she added.


President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gives Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a framed photo of ‘Sakura’, the Philippine Eagle named during a ceremony at Waterfront Hotel in Davao City on January 13, 2017. The name was Japanese-inspired after the Prime Minister of Japan provided support to the Philippine Eagle Foundation, the organization that takes care of the endangered species. SIMEON CELI JR./Presidential Photo DAVAO CITY—

Based on the photos provided by Malacañang, Duterte and his partner Honeylet Avancena presented gifts to the visiting Japanese leader and his wife. Abe’s wife looked delighted when she received a blouse.

Abe’s visit to Duterte’s home lasted for 45 minutes, according to Presidential Management Staff (PMS) Christopher “Bong” Go. The Prime Minister is the first head of state entertained by the President in his Davao residence.

From having a warm and friendly breakfast, the two leaders travelled to the Water Insular Hotel to meet and greet Filipino and Japanese businessmen. They granted photo sessions with the group without delivering any public speeches.


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (center), flanked by wife Akie (left) and President Rodrigo Duterte, raises a stuffed toy bird in Davao City on Friday during a ceremony to name a Philippine eagle adopted by Abe. The foreign leader named the eagle Sakura.

Photos shared by Go at around 10 a.m. showed Duterte showing Abe his bedroom, but these photos were obviously taken earlier as the two leaders arrived at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao at 10:10 a.m. to key government officials and executives of the companies of both the Philippines and Japan.

The two leaders proceeded to attend a ceremonial adoption of a rescued Philippine eagle by Japan at the same hotel. The juvenile female eagle was named “Sakura,” cherry blossoms in Japanese, in honor of the visiting Prime Minister.

Abe smiled and laughed throughout the eagle ceremony.


DAVAO, PHILIPPINES Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was on his way to Australia on Friday after a visit to the Philippines where he pledged $8.7 billion worth of business opportunities and private investments along with equipment to fight terrorism.

Duterte turned over tokens, including an eagle stuffed toy and a framed photo of Sakura, to the visiting Prime Minister during the ceremony.

The Philippine leader then invited Abe to savor durian and other fresh fruits before having lunch at the same hotel. A live feed from state-owned People’s Television showed Abe partaking of spoonfuls of durian with Mrs. Abe, President Duterte and Honeylet.

The Prime Minister also visited the Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku, an international college established by the Japanese. He was welcomed by students waving Japanese and Philippine flags and singing “It’s a Small World” in Japanese.

It was Abe’s last public engagement before departing Davao City.

The Philippines was Abe’s first stop in a four-nation swing that includes Australia, Indonesia, and Vietnam as he seeks to boost Japan’s trade and security engagements amid China’s rise to Asian dominance.

HONORING HEROES IN ‘LITTLE TOKYO’


Japan Prime Minister’s wife Akie Abe prays before a tomb at the Japanese cemetery,where early Japanese settlers are buried, in Barangay Mintal (Little Tokyo), Davao City on January 13, 2017. The visit is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s two-day official visit in the country. (Karl Norman Alonzo/Presidential Photo)

Mrs. Abe honored the memory of Japanese nationals who spent their last years in Davao City at its dedicated cemetery in Barangay Mintal.

Mintal is known in Davao City as “Little Tokyo” being the former site of a settlement area for Japanese abaca farmers.

Mrs. Abe arrived as scheduled at 10:15 a.m. and paid her tribute at the Zaryu Senbou Douhou Irei Tou (Tower of the Japanese residents who have passed away).

She also visited the nearby Ureinashi Ni Ho (Monument of No Regret) which was built by the Davao City Government to maintain friendly relations with Japan.

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RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte, Abe want rule of law in seas By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 13, 2017 - 12:00am 1 5 googleplus1 0


FIRST VISITOR: President Duterte and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pass school children waving Philippine and Japanese flags during a welcome ceremony at Malacañang yesterday. Abe is the first world leader to be hosted by the Duterte administration.

MANILA, Philippines - The need to uphold the rule of law in resolving regional conflicts highlighted the discussions yesterday between President Duterte and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Malacañang.

Emerging from the Aguinaldo State Dining Room after a meeting that lasted for about 30 minutes, Duterte and Abe said their countries are resolved to deepen and expand relations “across a broad range of areas,” including defense and security.

The two countries are embroiled in maritime disputes with China, which is claiming almost the entire South China Sea as well as an island in the East China Sea occupied by Tokyo.

In his speech after their meeting, Duterte said the Philippines and Japan have shared interests in protecting their territories.

READ MORE...

“As proven defense and long-time partners, the Philippines and Japan are committed to further expand and deepen our relations across a broad range of areas,” Duterte said.

The President also said he had an active discussion with the Prime Minister on enhancing maritime and security cooperation.

“As maritime nations, the Philippines and Japan have a shared interest in keeping our waters safe and secure from threats of any kind,” Duterte declared.

Abe is the first leader invited by the President to visit the Philippines. Abe has selected Manila and Davao for his first stops in his roadshow visit around the region.

MODERNIZING AFP

Duterte stressed the need for the Philippines to seek Japan’s help in modernizing its Armed Forces in addition to previous agreements.

“Capacity-building and assets acquisition and upgrading will be a centerpiece of this collaboration. We hope to fast-track the delivery to the Philippines of key assets already in the pipeline and the acquisition of new ones,” he said.

“As we seek these new innovations to the Philippines’ capabilities, we will continue to forge ahead with our efforts to advance the rule of law in order to secure the waters in our regions,” he added.

Japan has been helping the Philippines in its modernization program. It delivered a multi-role response vessel to the Philippine Coast Guard last year to help in patrolling the West Philippine Sea. The brand new ship was named BRP Tubbataha.

Japan is set to deliver to Manila 10 more 144-ft mid-sized coast guard ships, worth P8.8 billion ($188.52 million).

The ship delivery was discussed in an 80-minute meeting between Duterte and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Davao City last Aug. 11.

Abe on sea dispute

While Duterte did not mention the South China Sea dispute, Abe stressed the issue remains a major peace and stability concern in the global community.

“The issue of the South China Sea is linked directly to regional peace and stability and is a concern to the entire international community,” Abe pointed out.

Acknowledging Duterte’s move to craft a more “independent” foreign policy away from the United States, Abe said he respects the Philippine leader’s efforts to establish better relations with Beijing.

“I welcome the fact that President Duterte is making efforts to improve China-Philippines relations in light of the arbitral award,” he said, referring to the July ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague invalidating China’s massive maritime claim and reaffirming the Philippines’ maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea.

“The significance of the rule of law, peaceful resolution of disputes and non-militarization has been confirmed at ASEAN Related Meetings last year,” he said, noting that the same principles would be reaffirmed at this year’s ASEAN summit to be hosted by Manila. “We affirm the importance of these.”

This year also also marks the 50th founding anniversary of the regional bloc.

“Both countries being maritime nations, Japan will enhance support for capacity-building in the field of maritime security,” Abe added.

“We also had a firm exchange of views on the regional landscape and agreed to elevate cooperative relations to a higher level to address not only bilateral issues but also to work toward a resolution of regional challenges,” the Japanese leader said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea where about $5 trillion worth of trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims on the sea believed to have rich deposits of oil and gas.

Abe also expressed his concerns over the nuclear and missile program of North Korea.

On the issue, Abe said he and Duterte have agreed on the importance of a rigorous enforcement of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Abe also batted for the need to boost the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

“We agreed that we would continue cooperation toward the conclusion of a quality agreement,” he maintained.

Duterte has been vocal about his support for a regional economic partnership while expressing disdain for the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) espoused by outgoing US President Barack Obama.

Duterte badmouthed the US president for expressing concerns over reports of rampant human rights violations in the conduct of his war on drugs.

Davao Presidential House all spruced up

In Davao City, the President’s house in Doña Luisa Subdivision Phase 1 was spruced up for Abe’s visit last night. Abe was keen on dropping by Duterte’s house as part of his two-day state visit.

There had been no renovations on Duterte’s house but its air-conditioning system had been improved.

Abe was scheduled to fly to Davao City after the dinner in Malacañang last night.

“Actually there have been no renovations or any new construction made on the house. What you see is what you get, same as before,” a source told The STAR.

The only things that were changed in the President’s house were some light bulbs that were busted.

“And they had to bring in new air-conditioning units since the ones that they have in his house were already not functioning well,” the same source said.

There was also general cleaning carried out for Abe’s visit.

And it is all systems go for the overnight stay of the Japanese prime minister in Davao City, also known as the “Little Tokyo” of the Philippines for its large population of Japanese who settled in the city before the Second World War.

Aside from visiting the President’s house, Abe is expected to meet with local business groups as well as visit Japanese World War II landmarks. – Edith Regalado


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Japan PM Shinzo Abe ‘honored ’to be first foreign leader to visit PHL under Duterte
Published January 12, 2017 4:41pm By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows his head before the Philippine flag during a welcome ceremony at the presidential palace in Manila. REUTERS FILE

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is apparently pleased to be the first foreign leader to visit the Philippines during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In his opening statement during their summit meeting in Malacañang, Abe told Duterte that he also chose Philippines to be his first foreign visit in 2017 to show his commitment to improve the relations between the two nations.

"This is a tremendous honor for me to be invited as the very first foreign leader under your administration visiting Manila," Abe said.

"I chose the Philippines as my first destination this year and that is a testament to my primary emphasis on our bilateral relationship with the Philippines," he added.

READ MORE...

"Back in October, I welcomed Mr. President in Tokyo and I am delighted to be back in Manila to see you again and after only a short interval," Abe said.

"And, moreover, tomorrow my wife and I will visit Davao, your home city, and that gives us a great pleasure," he added.

Abe said that he supported the Philippines' chairmanship of the ASEAN.

"Mr. President will serve as the ASEAN chair this year and I am ready to fully support your Chairmanship so as you have successful ASEAN-Related Summit Meetings and the East Asia Summit this year," Abe said.

"And together with you, I am committed to elevating our bilateral relationship to a higher ground covering a wide-range of areas. And also let us work hand in hand in addressing various challenges of the Asia Pacific region," he added.

"And I very much look forward to having a very candid discussion with Mr. President today," Abe said.

Meanwhile, in his opening statement, Duterte said that Abe's visit showed "the shared commitment to further strengthen our important and valued strategic partnership."

"We can identify ways of building on agreements that we have made on a wide range of issues that would benefit both of our nations and peoples," Duterte said.

"This include among others intensifying trade and investments, bolstering defense, securing just and lasting peace and development in Mindanao, strengthening law enforcement against criminality and ensuring maritime safety and security," he added. —NB, GMA News

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

PH, Japan seal special friendship PM Abe ‘closer to a brother’ – Duterte 10 SHARES Share it! Published January 14, 2017, 12:11 AM by Genalyn D. Kabiling


‘DURIAN DIPLOMACY’ – Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) helps himself to a bite of durian, regarded in Southeast Asia as ‘king of fruits,’ as President Rodrigo R. Duterte plays a gracious host at the Waterfront Hotel in Davao City yesterday. (Malacañng Photo | Manila Bulletin) ‘DURIAN DIPLOMACY’

President Duterte and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sealed yesterday their “special friendship” with a vow and resolve to further strengthen the “solid and strategic partnership” between their two countries.

The President said he was overwhelmed with gratitude for Japan’s outpouring generosity and support to the country, from enhanced investment and development aid to the drug rehabilitation efforts.

“I am humbled by this demonstration of friendship and look forward to working closely with Prime Minister Abe on all matters of mutual interest,” said Duterte who described Abe “a friend closer to a brother.”

During his two-day visit, Abe offered an aid package worth one trillion yen (about P430 billion) to the Philippines in investment and infrastructure development over the next five years.

Japan also offered a 600 million yen (about P258 million) grant for high speed boats and other counterterrorism equipment to boost the country’s maritime security. It also promised support for the rehabilitation of drug offenders as well as peace and development initiatives in Mindanao.

President Duterte said Abe’s historic visit to the Philippines has set the bar for “constructive engagements,” citing Japan’s economic and defense support for the country.

DUTERTE'S VISIT TO JAPAN

“If my visit to Tokyo defined the solid and strategic partnerships of the Philippines and Japan, then, Prime Minister Abe’s visits to Manila and Davao renew the commitment to further strengthen the solid and strategic partnership toward greater peace, progress, and prosperity,” he said.

The President also acknowledged that Abe’s visit to the Philippines was a “welcome and a much awaited reunion.” The two leaders met in Tokyo in October, 2016 when Duterte paid a visit upon Abe’s invitation.

“By all accounts, that visit was a success, with both sides agreeing to chart a common path towards a deeper and even more meaningful engagement,” Duterte said.

“Prime Minister Abe’s presence in Manila is proof positive that Japan and the Philippines are fully committed to bring this long standing friendship and tried and tested partnership to even greater heights,” he added.

He said the two countries are moving forward “as only true friends can” following the signing of agreements on maritime security, agriculture, among others.

“We are friends who treat each other with mutual respect and trust. We are friends who are bound by a shared common resolve to uphold democracy, adherence to the rule of law and a peaceful settlement of disputes,” he said.

“And we are friends who constantly seek to invigorate relations through cooperation. Indeed, allow me to say again that ours is a special friendship whose value is beyond any measure,” he added.

 
The president pulled out all the stops to welcome Abe in a friendly and casual setting, from hosting a power breakfast at his residence to a durian feast in the city.

After holding talks in Manila, the Prime Minister made a casual and relaxed trip to the President’s home city of Davao where he was shown the world renowned Filipino hospitality.

Abe, accompanied by his wife, visited the President’s modest house for a breakfast meeting; adopted a rescued Philippine eagled named “Sakura;” and ate loads of durian and other local fruits.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation for President Duterte’s heartfelt gesture of welcoming our Japanese people as family members here in the Philippines,” Abe said in his remarks at the state banquet.

Abe is the first head of government to visit the Philippines during the term of President Duterte. He is also the first world leader that President Duterte welcomed in Davao during his presidency.

FRIEND CLOSER THAN A BROTHER


President Rodrigo Duterte hands a gift to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie during the latter’s visit to the president’s residence at Doña Luisa Village in Davao City on January 13, 2017. Also in the photo is the president’s partner Honeylet Avanceña. (Rene Lumawag/Presidential Photo) | mb.com.ph

President Duterte had nothing but warm praises for Japan during the state banquet hosted for Abe and his delegation. Duterte said he considers Japan “a friend closer than a brother” as he promised to further strengthen the country’s strategic partnership with the long-time ally.

“In Tokyo, I said that Japan deserves its own rightful place in the constellation of the Philippines’ friends,” he said about the country’s largest source of development aid.

“Tonight, let me reiterate that Japan is a friend closer than a brother. That means that Japan is a friend unlike any other,” the President said in his remarks.

Presidential Communications Operation Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Rafael Banaag said President Duterte and PM Abe are not just friends but more like brothers.

Abe took a sneak peek of the simple life of President Duterte at his home in Dona Luisa Subdivision, in Matina, Davao City on Friday morning. No one imagined that the predominantly green house of the President on Quimpo Boulevard would have not one but two heads of government one morning.

Kris Ablan, assistant secretary at the Presidential Communications Office, said that it was President Duterte himself who asked that the meetings between Duterte and Abe in Davao City remain as simple as possible. Duterte even chose to wear one of his trademark plaid shirts over the traditional Barong Tagalog.

“They wanted to treat each other not only as friends but also as brothers,” Ablan said, citing the difference in tone between the heads of state from Thursday’s meeting in Malacañang to the Davao visit on Friday. For Dabawenyos, the visit of Abe to Davao City marked a changing landscape. Davao was becoming a once hidden treasure worthy of a visit from a head of state.

MAXIMUM SUPPORT FOR ASEAN


President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meet with businessmen at the Water Insular Hotel in Davao City on Friday, January 13, 2017. mb.com.ph

Prime Minister Abe also promised to provide maximum support to make East Asia Summit and the ASEAN-related meetings “a tremendous success” this year.

“We support the ASEAN in its attempt to strengthen unity and centrality and to develop as a free and open community,” Abe said.

“From such a perspective, we will provide maximum support to make the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN-Related Meetings a tremendous success,” he added.

The East Asia Summit (EAS) meetings are held after the annual ASEAN Leaders’ Meetings which the Philippines will host this year.

The Philippines’ chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 2017 coincides with the celebration of 50th anniversary of the 10-nation ASEAN.

ASEAN countries include the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei, Myanmar, Singapore, Cambodia and last year’s ASEAN Summit host Laos.

Aside from ASEAN countries, EAS members are Japan, Australia, China, India, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and United States.

Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar has said the ASEAN 2017 will serve as the perfect occasion to promote the Philippines.

Andanar said over 100 summits and conferences will be held nationwide including the ASEAN Ministers meeting in April; ASEAN Heads of States Summit in August; and the ASEAN Heads of States Plus Three in November.

Andanar said at least P15.9 billion will be spent for the hosting of the ASEAN Summit 2017.

The kick-off event of the ASEAN 2017 will be held on January 15 at the SMX event center in Davao City where delegates from ASEAN member countries are expected to attend. (With reports from AFP, AP, and PNA)

 
Duterte turned over tokens, including an eagle stuffed toy and a frame photo of Sakura, to the visiting prime minister during the ceremony.


PHILSTAR

Breakfast at Duterte’s By Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 14, 2017 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


BREAKFAST AT DUTERTE'S HOME IN DAVAO: ABE SAMPLES PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT'S SIMPLE STYL

President Duterte and his partner Honeylet Avanceña applaud as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and wife Akie receive a stuffed replica of ‘Sakura,’ the Philippine Eagle adopted by the visiting leader during a ceremony at the Waterfront Hotel in Davao City yesterday. Rody: Japan closer than a brother

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe feasted on mung bean soup and kakanin (rice cakes) at the home of President Duterte yesterday, getting a first-hand look at the down-to-earth living of a volatile new friend who is shaking up the status quo in Asia.

With a backdrop of family photos, cups hanging from kitchen cabinets and clusters of used beer and wine bottles, Abe ate Duterte’s favorite breakfast in this city and was given a tour of his creaky two-story house, including the bedroom that featured the white mosquito net the President sleeps under on most weekends.

Nothing was renovated or newly constructed at Duterte’s house even when the Prime Minister’s visit was anticipated.

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Duterte’s simple living is part of the man-of-the-people style that endeared him to millions of Filipino voters who in May favored an abrasive city mayor over wealthy politicians on a largely Manila-centric ballot.

Abe’s visit comes as the Philippines edges closer to becoming a geostrategic battleground, with China offering billions in loans and investments, as Duterte opts to befriend Beijing and avoid challenging its maritime claims while ramping up hostility toward historic ally Washington.

While Japan’s allies in the West ponder how to deal with the hot-headed new leader, Abe has formed a close bond with Duterte during the four times they have met.

“They had a very animated talk. It was in a relaxed mood when the Prime Minister came to the President’s house,” special assistant to the President Christopher Go told The STAR.

Posting several pictures on Facebook, Go said the visit lasted at least 45 minutes and described Abe’s disposition as “happy.”

The President previously said he treats Abe as “a friend closer than a brother.”

In his speech in Malacañang Thursday night, Duterte described the country’s friendship with Japan as one “whose value is beyond any measure.”

FRIEND CLOSER TO A BROTHER

“Tonight, let me reiterate that Japan is a friend closer than a brother. That means Japan is a friend unlike any other,” Duterte said in his speech at Malacañang.

Abe described his being the first leader to visit Duterte this year as a “tremendous honor.”

President Duterte gives Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a tour of his Davao home, which started yesterday with (clockwise, from bottom left) breakfast followed by a glimpse of the view from the window, a taste of durian and a look at the presidential bed draped with a mosquito net. Special presidential assistant Christopher Go provided the photos.

“I chose the Philippines as my first destination this year and that is testament to my primary emphasis on our bilateral relationship,” the Prime Minister said.

Japan is one of the biggest investors in the Philippines, mainly in electronics, financial services and auto manufacturing, through firms that include Toyota, Mitsubishi and Canon.

Simple food

Honeylet Avanceña, Duterte’s partner, and an interpreter later joined Abe and the President at the dining table for breakfast.

Aside from mongo soup served with smoked fish and spinach, the table was filled with ripe mango, pomelo, rambutan, the ‘senyorita’ variety of bananas and durian. Coffee, black tea and buko (young coconut) juice were available, but Abe chose yogurt to go with his fruit and vegetable breakfast.

Katusuyuki Kawai, special adviser to the Prime Minister and a member of the House of Representatives, told The STAR that the Prime Minister is not really a heavy eater when it comes to breakfast.

After breakfast, the President and Abe proceeded to the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao for a series of engagements including a meet-and-greet with members of the local business community and the Japanese businessmen who were with the delegation of the Prime Minister and the ceremonial naming of a Philippine Eagle.

Avanceña and the Prime Minister’s wife Akie went to Barangay Mintal, considered the city’s Little Tokyo of pre-war Philippines, for a separate engagement that included a visit to the Japanese cemetery.

The village used to be the site of the largest concentration of Japanese nationals working at abaca plantations about a century ago.

MONUMENT OF NO REGRET

Akie also visited the Monument of No Regret, which Duterte ordered built in 2013 when he was still the city’s mayor.

“President Duterte built a monument with his own money when he was still serving as the mayor of Davao City in honor of the friendship between Japan and the Philippines. The monument of no regret [Ureinashi No Hi] has a plaque inscribed with a Japanese message of Mr. President. In English, it says: ‘Every human being is my brother, my sister and my child’,” Abe said during the state dinner in Malacañang Thursday night.

Akie lighted a candle and prayed before one of the tombs and offered a wreath at the monument.

They all had lunch at the Waterfront Hotel Davao where they were served Imbao soup, pomelo and fern salad with avocado aioli and tuna belly in mangosteen glaze with corn grits. Their dessert included durian panna cotta with civet coffee jelly and one round of soda and Davao punch for drinks.

A whole tuna carved out for sashimi servings caught the Prime Minister’s attention that he even went to the tuna station to talk with Japanese chef Nobuyuku Imamura.

“Where did you get your tuna?” Abe asked Imamura, resident chef of Mizu Japanese restaurant in Waterfront Cebu Hotel, in Nihonggo.

Imamura told Abe that it came from General Santos City, about three hours away.

Bryan Lasala, manager of Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao, said that it was not hard to please the Prime Minister when it came to food.

“There really was no special request for anything. Whatever was served for him and the President was also served for everybody,” Lasala said.

In the afternoon, Abe and the President went to the Nikkei Jinkai Japanese School for a short visit.

The Prime Minister and his wife arrived in Davao City at around 9:45 p.m. Thursday night and left at a little past 12:20 p.m. yesterday for Sydney, Australia as part of his seven-day series of visits in various countries.

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RELATED FROM DAILY MAIL, UK

Japan's Abe enjoys Duterte's folksy diplomacy in Philippines By AFP PUBLISHED: 10:34 GMT, 13 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:34 GMT, 13 January 2017


JANUARY 14 -President Duterte and his partner Honeylet Avanceña applaud as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and wife Akie receive a stuffed replica of ‘Sakura,’ the Philippine Eagle adopted by the visiting leader during a ceremony at the Waterfront Hotel in Davao City yesterday. Rody: Japan closer than a brother

With a visit to Philipine President Rodrigo Duterte's bedroom, having one of the world's rarest birds named in his honour and guided by a sockless host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a morning to remember on Friday.

Duterte, a charismatic politician known at home for his folksy charm, dropped many of the formal protocols normally associated with visits by a head of government as he took Abe on a tour of his beloved southern home city of Davao.

Abe's day began with a visit to Duterte's "simple home" for a breakfast of sticky rice cakes and mung bean soup, a presidential aide said, with the leaders dining at a wooden table before heading for a look around Duterte's house.


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd L) is handed a stuffed Philippine eagle by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at a hotel in Davao City, Mindanao on... +2 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd L) is handed a stuffed Philippine eagle by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at a hotel in Davao City, Mindanao on January 13, 2017 ©TED ALJIBE (AFP)

"We also showed him how the president enjoys the comfort of his own bed, including his old and favourite mosquito net," Duterte's aide, Christopher Go, wrote on Facebook alongside a photo of the leaders smiling while standing next to the bed.

The leaders later had a casual meeting at a hotel overlooking the sea, where Duterte was photographed in a checkered shirt and long pants but no socks -- a familiar look for the 71-year-old who takes pride in his informal fashion style.

Abe's next activity saw him standing in front of a stuffed Philippine eagle, the national bird and one of the world's most endangered.

A ceremony saw a two-year-old eagle named Sakura after the famous Japanese cherry blossom.

Abe was given a photo of the eagle, which is kept at a nearby sanctuary, as well as a fluffy toy version draped in indigenous clothing.

Abe, normally blue-suited and politically conservative who nevertheless showed off his fun side last year when he dressed up as video game icon Super Mario at the Rio Olympics' closing ceremony, appeared to enjoy the day.

He smiled and laughed throughout the eagle ceremony, and ended his Davao trip at a Japanese-language school where he was greeted by singing and flag-waving children.


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walks with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and their wives Akie Abe (L) and Honeylet Avancena (R) in Davao City, Mindanao on January 13, 2017 ©TED ALJIBE (AFP)

Abe was the first foreign leader to visit the Philippines since Duterte took office just over six months ago.

His two-day trip began on Thursday with a much more formal itinerary in the capital of Manila, where he held meetings with Duterte at the presidential palace.

Abe was also the first head of government to visit Davao, the largest city in the southern Philippines that is 1,500 kilometres (900 miles) from Manila.

Duterte, a longtime mayor of Davao before becoming president, has made developing the southern Philippines a top priority, arguing the region has been neglected by "imperial Manila".

Abe flew from Davao to Australia on Friday afternoon as part of a trip that will include Indonesia and Vietnam.


PHILSTAR

DOT Zamboanga: Murders of fishermen an isolated incident By Roel Pareño (philstar.com) | Updated January 12, 2017 - 4:21pm 1 10 googleplus0 0


Siromon Island is one of the 11 Islands, a potential tourist destination in Zamboanga/ ROEL PAREÑO

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The Department of Tourism regional office in Zamboanga expects fewer visitors after the massacre of fishermen near 11 Islands, a potential tourist attraction near the city.

Tourism regional director Antonio Fernando Blanco said they are addressing the possible effects that the execution of eight fishermen last Monday night off Siromon Island may have on arrivals. Siromon is among the 11 Islands.

“Definitely, it will have a negative effect on the islands,” Blanco told media here.

But Blanco said the bloody incident was an isolated case and and some of the suspects have already been arrested. Security in the area has also been beefed up for the visitors' safety.

He said the incident has already dampened tourism, but that as long as the tourists who do go to the islands are safe, it will be open to the public.

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“This was an isolated incident and we would like to treat it as such.”

He said visitors have even been calling him to arrange trips to the island despite the incident.

Police Superintendent Felix Martinez, head of the special investigating body on the case, said two suspects have been arrested. He disclosed that the suspects are members of local extortion groups that preyed on the fisherfolk in the area.

Martinez said they already have leads on the rest of the suspects.

Blanco said the tourism officer will organize regular planned tours to the 11 Islands saying the frequency and presence of people will deter outlaws from making the area its staging site.

“Island tour concept to recover and bounce back from the negative effect,” Blanco said.

“We will not allow the incident to spoil the gains in tourism,” Blanco added saying that Sta. Cruz Island had even experienced a sharp increase in local and foreign visitors.

Sta. Cruz Island, which is more than two nautical miles south of this city, is listed as sixth among the beaches with pink sand around the world.

“We have Sta. Cruz Island and Malamawi island of Isabela City, Basilan, which are beautiful beaches to be discovered by tourists. A lot of us have discovered 11 11 Islands,” Blanco said.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

PCG seeks new boats vs pirates By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 15, 2017 - 12:00am 4 272 googleplus0 0


Commodore Joel Garcia, PCG officer-in-charge, made the proposal in a meeting with Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade on Friday. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has proposed the purchase of high-speed boats armed with two .30 caliber machine guns each to beef up security patrols and fight off pirates plaguing the waters off Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces in Mindanao.

Commodore Joel Garcia, PCG officer-in-charge, made the proposal in a meeting with Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade on Friday.

PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said Tugade was “appreciative” of the anti-piracy measures and promised to help the agency in the acquisition.

Although the PCG operates as a civilian maritime unit, Balilo said arming the boats would not violate any rules since one of the agency’s functions is law enforcement.

He added that both DOTr and PCG are aware of the urgency to secure the southern seas and agreed to have the units by March this year.

Just last week, armed men killed eight fishermen off Zamboanga, while seven others managed to escape and swam to Siroman Island.

To make monitoring easier, Garcia also proposed the registration of all fishing boats and the issuance of a number plate or, at least, to have them painted for free on either side of the boat.

He said this proposal can be coordinated with the Maritime Industry Authority, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the local government units since all fishing boats that are three gross tons or below are registered with them.

Garcia also proposed the assignment of some police or military men as marshals for passenger and cargo ships that ply the western Mindanao area.

Presently, the PCG provides sea marshals for passenger ships that use the Manila-Visayas-Mindanao routes.


PHILSTAR

Duterte orders troops to blast militants and their hostages By Jim Gomez (Associated Press) | Updated January 15, 2017 - 10:26am 15 126 googleplus0 0


President Rodrigo Duterte, right, and Philippine Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Ano, left, switch positions as they review the troops during flag-raising ceremony to commemorate the 120th death anniversary of the country's National Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. Détente remains popular as shown by recent surveys despite international concerns about his war on drugs that has so far killed more than 6,000 drug suspects since he took office June 30. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said he has ordered his troops to bomb extremists who flee with their captives in a bid to stop a wave of kidnappings at sea, calling the loss of civilian lives in such an attack "collateral damage."

Duterte has previously stated that he had told his Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts their forces can blast away as they pursue militants who abduct sailors in waters where the three countries converge and bring their kidnap victims to Mindanao. He said in a speech late Saturday that he had given the same orders to Filipino forces.

He said he instructed the Navy and the Coast guard that "if there are kidnappers and they're trying to escape, bomb them all."

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"They say 'hostages.' Sorry, collateral damage," he said in a speech to business people in Davao, his southern hometown.

He said such an approach would enable the government to get even with the ransom-seeking militants. "You can't gain mileage for your wrongdoing, I will really have you blasted," he said.

His advice to potential victims? "So, really, don't allow yourselves to be kidnapped."

Duterte's remarks reflect the alarm and desperation of the Philippines, along with Malaysia and Indonesia, in halting a series of ransom kidnappings primarily by Abu Sayyaf militants and their allies along a busy waterway for regional trade.

On Saturday, ransom-seeking Abu Sayyaf gunmen freed a South Korean captain and his Filipino crewman who were abducted three months ago from their cargo ship.

The gunmen handed skipper Park Chul-hong and Glenn Alindajao over to Moro National Liberation Front rebels, who turned them over to Philippine officials in southern Jolo town in predominantly Muslim Sulu province.

The Moro rebels, who signed a 1996 peace deal with the government, have helped negotiate the release of several hostages of the smaller but more violent Abu Sayyaf, which is blacklisted by the US as a terrorist organization for kidnappings, beheadings and bombings.

Duterte's adviser dealing with insurgents, Jesus Dureza, said he was not aware of any ransom being paid in exchange for the freedom of the sailors. At least 27 hostages, many of them foreign crewmen, remain in the hands of different Abu Sayyaf factions, he said.

There have been persistent speculations, however, that most of the freed hostages have been ransomed off.

Without a known foreign source of funds, the Abu Sayyaf has survived mostly on ransom kidnappings, extortion and other acts of banditry.

A confidential Philippine government threat assessment report seen by The Associated Press last year said the militants pocketed at least P353 million ($7.3 million) from ransom kidnappings in the first six months of 2016.

The militants have mostly targeted slow-moving tugboats in the busy sea bordering the southern Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Terror group rises from jihadist ashes DIWM, allies hatching bomb plots—general posted January 09, 2017 at 10:01 pm by Florante S. Solmerin


TENTACLES OF TERRORISM. Security authorities are closely monitoring the formation of a new umbrella terror group called Dawlatul Isamiyah Waliyatul Mastrik which officials say consists of existing local terror groups based in Mindanao.

SECURITY officials are closely monitoring a new umbrella organization of Mindanao-based terrorist groups, police and military sources told the Manila Standard Monday.

Called Dawlatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masrik, the group replaces Ansar Khilafa Philippines, whose leader, Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, was killed on Jan. 5.

“We’ve been monitoring the formation of this new group for several months already through continuous intelligence gathering and comparing our assessments with the assessments of some independent experts on terrorism,” a military general who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

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Intelligence reports said bombers from the Abu Sayyaf group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, the Maute group, AKP, and even “lost command” groups of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front were pulling together to launch bomb attacks.

“Their ultimate objective is to be recognized by the daesh [Islamic State] as a member or affiliate organization under the name DIWM here in the Philippines,” another security officer from the police said.

He said the bomb attacks in Davao City, Hilongos in Leyte, Midsayap in North Cotabato, and the foiled Manila bombing are interconnected.

“All those arrested perpetrators from all these incidents spoke of the formation of he DIWM. In fact, they came from different groups such as the Maute, Abu Sayyaf, AKP, and have backgrounds from the BIFF and MILF,” he said.

An Abu Sayyaf leader, Isnilon Hapilon, started the group in Basilan in February 2016, with a pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State.

On Monday, the Philippine National Police said it is closely monitoring five to 10 foreigners who are allegedly conducting training in terrorist camps in Mindanao.

At a press conference Monday, PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa said there might be more foreign nationals but said they would be difficult to identify as such if they were Malays.

Also on Monday, Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduaro Año said the military was using a new approach to combatting terrorists by neutralizing their top leaders.

Ano would not offer any specifics, but said the new approach would “finish this problem once and for all.”

Last week, a Sudanese national, Abu Naila, believed to be bound for Syria to fight for the Islamic State together and his wife Kadija were killed in a shootout with security forces on the outskirts of Sarangani province.

His death followed the killing of Maguid at a beach resort in Sarangani province.

At present, Año said they had been 51 battalions deployed to different areas of Mindanao, the biggest military contingent that has been amassed on the island.

“Not in our history has there been this massive deployment of our troops, but we are going to make sure that our campaign against the Abu Sayyaf will not be prolonged and we wanted this to finish it,” Año said.

Año said they have intensified its intelligence operations while drawing on community support to provide information on terrorists in their locality.

“We are encouraging the community to help us by reporting suspicious-looking… people in their locality,” Año said. With Francisco Tuyay, PNA

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RELATED(2) FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Another foreign jihadist killed posted January 07, 2017 at 10:01 pm by Francisco Tuyay


HEIGHTENED ALERT. Government troops listen to orders from their commander as they heightened their alert after a jailbreak involving 158 inmates and the killing of local and foreign terrorists in Mindanao. AFP

SECURITY forces shot dead a suspected foreign jihadist and his female companion after they resisted policemen and soldiers who were sent to arrest them in a coastal town of Sarangani province Saturday morning.

Central Mindanao police spokesperson Supt. Romeo Galgo said the slain jihadist was known only by his nom de guerre Abu Naila and his companion as Kadija and authorities believe he is one of the Indonesian or Malaysian fugitives linked with the terrorist Islamic State.

Galgo did not say how security forces learned of Abu Naila’s location but a joint task force composed of Special Action Force commandos and troops of the 4th Special Action Battalion and 27th Infantry Battalion were sent to Barangay Daliao in Maasim town to arrest them.

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Abu Naila, however, refused to yield and even lobbed a grenade at the authorities, prompting the lawmen to fire at the suspect and his female companion, Galgo said, adding that bomb components and IS-related propaganda was also found at Abu Naila’s hideout.

Galgo said Abu Naila is believed to be a member of the Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines, whose leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, alias Tokboy, was also killed on Jan. 5 in an encounter with government troops at Angel Beach Resort in Kiamba town, also in Sarangani province.

Abu Naila was the first foreign terrorist killed this year by government forces in Mindanao after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered an all-war against terrorists.

In November 2015, Indonesian national Ibrahim Alih, also known as Abdul Fatah, a Jemaah Islamiya operative in Mindanao under the protection of the AKP, was also killed with seven Filipino jihadists in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat.

The slain Indonesian national was said to be involved on Oct. 12, 2002 bombing in Bali, Indonesia that left 202 people, including 88 Australians, 38 Indonesians and 20 other nationalities with 209 injured.

Fatah was a long-wanted terrorist along with two other JI operatives, the late Usman Basit and Zulkifli bin Hir, both killed in separate encounter with military and police forces in Central Mindanao.

On Aug. 13, 2014, the Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines (Supporters/Helpers of the Caliphate) released a video showing its members pledging allegiance to the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

But AKP is not the only group that has pledged allegiance to the terrorist Daesh. The Katibat Ansar al Sharia, Katibat Marakah al Ansar and the Abu Sayyaf group have also separately pledged allegiance to IS.

In the annual New Year Command Conference with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police at Malacañang on Friday, Duterte has reiterated his commitment to crush the Abu Sayyaf group.

“The President reiterated his commitment to end the Abu Sayyaf Group,” said presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.

Abella said President Duterte reiterated his firm stance against corruption, as well as his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and terrorism.

“He reiterated his guidance regarding corruption, especially because, as he says, corruption is not easily eradicated, and then the campaign against drugs and terrorism,” Abella said.

The Palace official said the joint command conference lasted two hours, describing it as a “substantial and a very fruitful meeting which puts the President in touch once more with this branch of government.”


PHILSTAR

Abus free Korean, Filipino hostages By Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 15, 2017 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


South Korean hostage Park Chul-hong (center) is greeted by officials as he prepares to board a plane for Davao City following his release yesterday from his kidnappers in Jolo. AP

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – A South Korean ship captain and a Filipino crewman kidnapped by suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen three months ago were released yesterday.

Officials said the Abu Sayyaf handed skipper Park Chul-hong and Glenn Alindajao over to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels based in Barangay Kagay, who turned them over to Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan II.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza picked up the two former hostages from Tan and presented them to media in Davao City.

Park, skipper of bulk carrier M/V Dong Bang Giant 2, and Alindajao were seized by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits off Sibutu Island in Tawi-Tawi last Oct. 20.

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Dureza said no ransom was paid for the release of the two hostages.

“As far as I know, for the Philippine government, there is no ransom. But if there are efforts by the private individuals, we have nothing to do with it,” he said.

Dureza also said he is uncertain if it was indeed the Abu Sayyaf behind the kidnapping, suggesting pirates might have been involved.

“Let the military or the proper authorities determine what group they really are,” he said.

The two former hostages said ten armed men boarded their vessel by climbing up a ladder from their speedboats.

They said the two of them were taken by the gunmen, who spared four other Koreans and 16 Filipino crewmembers.

The cargo ship was heading for South Korea from Australia when the gunmen boarded the ship, in the region where many sailors have been kidnapped.

“At first they were told that they were in a neighboring country nearby, only for them to discover that they were brought to Sulu,” Dureza said.

The two described their kidnappers as mostly youngsters. – Edith Regalado

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RELATED EARLIER REPORT FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte eyes joint operations with Malaysia vs Abu Sayyaf By Jim Gomez (Associated Press) | Updated November 2, 2016 - 12:50pm 3 12 googleplus0 0


In this Sept. 18, 2016, file photo, released Norwegian hostage Kjartan Sekkingstad, left, briefly delivers his statement after meeting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, in Davao city in southern Philippines. Sekkingstad was freed after a year of horrific jungle captivity when he was constantly threatened with beheading. Abu Sayyaf militants pocketed at least 353 million pesos ($7.3 million) from ransom kidnappings in the first six months of the year and have turned to abductions of foreign tugboat crewmen as military offensives restricted the gunmen's mobility, a confidential Philippine government report said Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. AP Photo/Manman Dejeto, File

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will discuss possible joint military and police operations with Malaysia to quell Abu Sayyaf militant kidnappings of sailors along the countries' sea border, saying that the brazen attacks have paralyzed trade and commerce.

Addressing the "deteriorating peace and order" in those waters will top the agenda when Duterte meets Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and other top officials in Malaysia next week, Duterte told reporters late Tuesday.

Duterte said the attacks embarrassed him because the Abu Sayyaf perpetrators are based in the southern Philippine island of Jolo, an impoverished, jungle-clad region where the militants hold their hostages for ransom.

 MALAYSIA, PHL, INDONESIA

"There is a need for us, the three countries Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia, to talk about this seriously and to put a stop because it has somehow paralyzed the trade and commerce in that area," Duterte said.

He said his talks will cover border control, border crossing, "and, maybe, joint military and police operations."

During a recent visit to Indonesia, Duterte said he discussed possible security strategies with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and the Indonesia leader was "OK with everything." Duterte did not specify the security steps.

Despite initial talks by the three countries about ratcheting up security, Abu Sayyaf gunmen and allied militants — part of a wider Muslim rebellion that has been raging in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation for decades — have continued attacks at sea this year, kidnapping Malaysian and Indonesian crewmen of slow-moving tugboats mostly pulling coal barges.

The security talks are complicated and tricky because the Philippines and Malaysia have had territorial issues and questions have arisen, for example, how far Malaysian authorities chasing fleeing militants can go as they approach Philippine territory. In initial talks, the countries have considered establishing a more secure sea lane for commercial vessels as well as coordinated law enforcement actions, including sea and air patrols.

Indonesia has restricted coal shipments to the Philippines because of the danger. Although most of the vessels attacked were tugboats, which are easy to board, the militants attacked an ocean-going South Korean cargo ship for the first time about two weeks ago off southern Tawi-Tawi province, near Sulu, abducting its South Korean skipper and a Filipino crewman.

Without any known foreign source of funds, the Abu Sayyaf has survived through the years mainly from ransom kidnappings. A Philippine threat assessment report seen by The Associated Press showed that the militants pocketed at least $7.3 million from six ransom kidnappings involving 21 people in the first six months of the year.

The report said the lucrative payoffs enabled the group to procure firearms and ammunition.

Duterte, who took office in June, has ordered the military to destroy the Abu Sayyaf, while pursuing talks with two larger Muslim rebel groups.

The Philippine military said Tuesday it has killed 70 Abu Sayyaf militants and captured 32 others in an offensive that began in July.


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